Washington, Feb 14 – President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned on Monday.
The White House confirmed the resignation, announcing that Trump had named Lt. General Joseph Keith Kellogg, Jr. as acting national security adviser.
Flynn’s resignation comes after days of speculation about his status within the administration and intense scrutiny into his discussions about Russia prior to Trump’s inauguration. Reports on Monday revealed that the Justice Department had earlier warned the White House that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
Flynn had told Vice President Mike Pence he had not discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russian officials in the weeks before Trump took office on Jan. 20, prompting Pence to defend him in subsequent television interviews.
In recent days, Flynn acknowledged he might have discussed sanctions with the Russians but could not remember with 100 percent certainty, which officials said had upset Pence, who felt he had been misled. Officials said Flynn apologized to Pence twice, including in person on Friday.
In the letter, Flynn thanked Trump for “his personal loyalty.”
NBC reported that three candidates who could potential replace Flynn include Kellogg, Vice Admiral Bob Harward and retired General David Petraeus.
Two senior U.S. officials told NBC News that Harward was considered the favorite among the three contenders.
Multiple outlets had reported earlier Monday that former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates warned the White House that General Flynn might have been vulnerable to Russian blackmail.
Yates had delivered the message late last month amid worries about Flynn’s communication with the Russian ambassador in Washington, according to the Washington Post, which cited unnamed current and former U.S. officials.
It wasn’t clear, the Post reported, what White House Counsel Donald McGahn had done with Yates’ information.
Yates was fired for opposing Trump’s temporary entry ban for people from seven mostly Muslim nations.
In his resignation letter, Flynn wrote that, throughout his more than thirty years of military service and his tenure as national security adviser, he had “always performed my duties with the utmost of integrity and honesty to those I have served, to include the President of the United States.”